In and out of jail since he was 16, Melbourne standover
man Mark Read (Eric Bana
a judge to get his associate friend Jimmy Loughnan (Simon Lyndon
) out of the notorious H Division of maximum security Pentridge Prison in Melbourne
. He fails and is sentenced to 16 and a half years in the very prison in which Loughnan is serving his time. To become leader of the division, he ignites a power struggle which gains him more enemies than admirers. Eventually, even his gang turn their backs on him, and he is stabbed by his childhood friend Loughnan. He voluntarily has his ears cut off by a fellow inmate in order to be transferred out of the H Division; this also gains him recognition in and out of the prison.
He is released in 1986, revisiting enemies and friends who he cannot differentiate anymore. He reunites with his former girlfriend Tanya (Kate Beahan
), but suspects that she is involved with one of his old victims, Neville Bartos (Vince Colosimo
). In turn he proceeds to track Bartos down, shoots him and takes him to the hospital, unabashedly claiming that he has a "green light" courtesy of the police "to exterminate scum". However the police, (Bill Young
as Detective Downie) are not as glad as he is and when Chopper learns that he is now the target of a contract, he goes after his old friend Jimmy, only to find him worn out by drugs
, two children and a junkie
He kills a criminal known as Sammy the Turk (based on real-life criminal Siam Ozerkam, who Chopper allegedly killed) at a bar, but gets away with it by claiming it was self defence
. He eventually ends up in prison where he writes a book about his experiences in the underground crime
scene in Melbourne. The book becomes a best-seller, and Read becomes a criminal legend
and a cult figure
The film ends with Chopper in his prison cell in 1992, watching himself being interviewed on television
. He is proud of the interview among those watching with him, but when they leave he goes quiet, and the film ends with Chopper sitting in his cell alone.